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|Serious Misuse of the Kid from Brooklyn
Michael Z. Williamson
|Generally, i find John Ringo's plots to be much better than his execution (with the signal exception of the "fantasy" series [It looks like fantasy if you squint a little, but isn't, thus, presumably allowing Ringo to write stories that will appeal outside his core audience but not have to resort to actulaay writing that wimpy fantasy stuff] that begins with There Will be Dragons, and even there, i detect a tendency toward what Tom Easton [i think] referred to a "conanism".) -- the "March" series (March Upcountry, March to the Sea, March to the Stars and We Few, in collaboration with my brother, David Weber, may be an exception, since i'm not sure who did what in their production.
(Which said, they are really rather better books than either of them alone has produced lately.)
I don't know which of the co-authors did the main plotting, or who did what in the writing, but i got halfway and then hit a brick wall, when it changed (in somewhat exaggerated terms) from "Sgt Rock and the Combat Happy Joes of Easy Company Behind Enemy Lines" to "Indiana Jones meets the Predator"...
I think my sense of neatness and economy in plotting was somewhat tweaked by the introduction of so much plot mechanics built of at least well-coloured cardboard which all, apparently, had to be wiped out halfway through in order to let the real story begin.
When they pulled a similar stunt in the movie Executive Decision, it was done early enough and with panache enough that i admired their audacity; in The Hero i felt it came too late in the story and too far out of left field to work right and as if it were forced by plot considerations, rather than growing naturally from the plot. (Rather as the "dirt-in-the-window" sequence in Close Encounters is really only there to write out the wife and kids, beause Spielberg apparently couldn't be bothered to come up with anything more logical...)
I was enjoying it reasonably well up to the point where the antique gun* wasn't fired, but was instead pulled down off the mantelpiece and broken over the authors' knee...
*("Antique Gun" -- From playwright Anton Chekhov's dictum that a gun shown mounted on the wall in Act I had better have been taken down and used in some manner by Act III, or it is wasted detail.